Enogen Improves the Energy Equation

A unique in-seed technology that enhances ethanol production is quickly gaining widespread acceptance.
The Quad County Corn Processors facility in Galva, Iowa
The Quad County Corn Processors facility in Galva, Iowa.
Five years ago, a handful of growers in Kansas first planted Enogen® corn. Today, that breakthrough technology is helping to make the ethanol industry more efficient and enabling an increasing number of ethanol plants to invest in their local communities.

Syngenta is currently contracting Enogen grain with growers to support 18 ethanol plants in seven states—from California to Ohio—representing approximately 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol capacity, with plans to continue expanding the footprint for this game-changing innovation.

A Win-Win-Win Scenario

Enogen corn enzyme technology is available exclusively from Syngenta. It’s the industry’s first and only corn designed specifically to enhance ethanol production. Using modern biotechnology to deliver robust alpha amylase enzyme directly in the grain, Enogen eliminates the need to add liquid alpha amylase, a key ingredient in ethanol production. Instead, Enogen provides corn growers the opportunity to earn additional income by serving as enzyme suppliers. This in-seed technology helps ethanol plants run more efficiently by significantly reducing the viscosity of corn mash during the production process.

Enogen corn enzyme technology reduces the viscosity of corn mash.
Enogen corn enzyme technology reduces the viscosity of corn mash.
Midwest Renewable Energy, LLC (MRE) will begin using Enogen at its Sutherland, Nebraska, ethanol production facility this season. According to Jim Jandrain, MRE’s CEO and chairman of the board, the opportunity to invest locally is a key benefit of using Enogen grain.

“We look forward to purchasing alpha amylase in the form of high-quality grain directly from local corn growers,” Jandrain says. “When you think about the value that Enogen will deliver for our growers, our facility and our community, it’s a win-win-win scenario.”

Enogen growers earn on average a 40-cents-per-bushel premium. Enogen corn is expected to generate approximately $25 million of additional revenue in 2016 for local growers through premiums.

“The agreements we have in place with an increasing number of plants will enable them to source alpha amylase directly from growers and keep enzyme dollars in those local communities,” says Jack Bernens, head of Enogen at Syngenta. “This is what truly sets Enogen corn apart. It adds significant incremental value at the local level for communities that rely on their ethanol plant’s success.”

Greater Rewards

A desire to boost yield and throughput and reduce energy usage led Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP), based in Galva, Iowa, to begin using locally sourced Enogen grain in 2012.

Delayne Johnson, CEO at QCCP, believes that switching to the alpha amylase enzyme in Enogen was a good business move. “Our ethanol plant has had great results, and the transition was very easy,” he says. “The decrease in energy costs and increase in number of gallons of ethanol produced per bushel of corn have been critical drivers to enhancing our bottom line.”

With Enogen, ethanol producers can help promote the growth and stability of rural communities.

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QCCP is the site of the first commercial cellulosic ethanol production in the world, using Cellerate process technology. Cellerate is a collaboration between Syngenta and Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of QCCP. Cellerate will enable dry-grind ethanol plants to convert corn kernel fiber into cellulosic ethanol, increasing a plant’s ethanol production by up to 6 percent.

Syngenta is also working with QCCP and other ethanol plants to introduce a protocol designed to help growers increase corn yields and drive grain quality through insect control, early-season weed management, glyphosate weed-resistance management and crop enhancement. The Ethanol Grain Quality Solution provides ethanol plants with locally sourced grain, while improving grower return on investment (ROI).

“Growers with an Enogen contract can receive an additional 10-cents-per-bushel premium above the current Enogen contract premium, by following protocols outlined in the Ethanol Grain Quality Solution,” says Chris Tingle, head of marketing for Enogen. “Growers without an Enogen contract can receive 10 cents per bushel for any additional corn produced under the Ethanol Grain Quality Solution protocol, provided those bushels are delivered to the ethanol plant.”

Increased ROI

Numerous trials have shown that Enogen hybrids perform equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids.1 Those results were again confirmed by grower experiences last fall.

For Roger Unruh of Holcomb, Kansas, the transition to Enogen was an easy one. As a Golden Harvest® Corn grower, Unruh says that with the premium-per-bushel offer, the decision to plant Enogen hybrids was a no-brainer. “My Enogen hybrid E113N8-3000GT brand yielded up to 270 bushels per acre, while my E116K4-3000GT brand yielded up to 240 bushels per acre this season,” he says. “I have been very pleased with both of my Enogen hybrids this year.”

Trials have shown that Enogen hybrids perform equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids.

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Grower Bill Janssen of Wellsburg, Iowa, says yields have been strong and the stewardship protocol straightforward. “We had a nice growing season,” he says. “My Enogen hybrid E111B8-3000GT brand yielded up to 238 bushels per acre, and I have found that the Enogen stewardship requirements have not been an issue at all.”

Waverly, Iowa, grower Marc Mummelthei agrees: “Enogen stewardship is very simple to follow. It is a very user-friendly, farmer-friendly program. The computer systems are fairly easy to run, so really it’s just a small task to grow Enogen.”

Bernens says that he and others at Syngenta believe ethanol is an essential part of the energy equation. “Ethanol is good for consumers, good for farmers and good for the environment,” he says. “And, with Enogen, ethanol producers can help promote the growth and stability of rural communities through an energy source that is helping to make America more energy independent.”

1 Based on Syngenta production data from more than 350,000 contracted acres, 2012–2015.